Once upon a time, marketers were marketers and did marketing things. Marketing campaigns were strategized once, roles were siloed, responsibilities were clear cut, and results were linked to specific business units without any second guessing.
Then the Internet happened. There was email, mobile, social media, Big Data...
Fast forward to 2016—now we're in a relationship-focused era in which consumers' brand experiences are defining marketing strategy and driving the industry.
In turn, the confines of who is a marketer is blurring, and the definition of marketing is evolving.
The result: Marketers must now wear countless new hats in this new era of marketing.
1. The Lifelong Companion
By 2025, millennials (people age 18 to 34) will overtake Baby Boomers in terms of annual net income and purchasing power. That means, they are quickly becoming the most important demographic.
This savvy, sophisticated, and always-connected generation barely remembers life before the Internet. Its always-on, last millisecond mentality means you need to deliver a memorable and consistent experience across every touch point: mobile, your website, your app, etc.
Those experiences aren't just a piece of your brand, they are your brand. So, marketers must learn how to become the "lifelong companion" for your consumers: understanding and recognizing who they are to serve up the right content in a fluid approach across all channels.
Dig into your audiences, and determine the best way to reach them with relevant content in real time. That means optimization and accuracy across paid and owned channels; dimensional modeling that paints a spot-on picture of each individual and segment; transparent reporting that helps you take it to the next level; and activation that reaches beyond the marketing cloud and is omnichannel.
2. The Tour Guide
This past summer, I took a sabbatical to South America, where my family and I enjoyed highly personalized experiences—both through traditional hospitality and digital or hybrid services.
Some of the best and biggest moments grew into fully integrated experiences. Those not only enhanced my family's journey but also reminded me that marketers must act as a "tour guide" to provide meaningful experiences both on and offline.
A great example of The Tour Guide is Coca-Cola Co.'s now ubiquitous "Share a Coke" campaign. The premise is simple—popular names printed on Coke packaging—but the impact is overwhelming.
Coke created one of the most compelling marketing experiences in history, bringing customers on a journey that starts with the delight of seeing their name or a loved one's name on a bottle and extends to digital, all while never missing a bit.
Marketers today have to connect physical and digital to create a truly personalized experience. Coke did just that. The journey was flawless and always in step as Coke led customers every step of the way, just like a perfect tour guide would!
Ultimately, the campaign generated nearly one billion Twitter impressions, hundreds of thousands of Tweets using the #ShareaCoke hashtag, a national tour and more... all led by the ultimate Tour Guide, Coke.
3. The Inventor
As marketers, we must make fundamental changes to the way we do business.
The key is to remind yourself that marketing is not digital or social or mobile —marketing is everything, all of the time. Marketing is a consistent and continuous customer-driven experience made up of meaningful micro-moments in a sea of constant interruption and chatter.
Marketers who excel see patterns within the noise, cutting through the clutter with spot-on relevant experiences that, together, define your brand in consumers' eyes. Your task is to construct and cultivate those experiences.
You're the builder, the curator, the architect and, at the end of the day, the inventor. This is extremely powerful.
* * *
The game has changed and there's no going back. Marketing is expanding by the minute, integrating more people, more business units, and endless new functions.
Grab your know-how, your data and, above all, your endless supply of marketing hats.
Today, you aren't just a marketer, you're a lifelong companion, tour guide, and inventor. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready. This journey is already redefining how we do business and shows no signs of slowing down.